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| 28 April 2017 | Reply

Hachette Australia – rrp$29.99
May 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Here Comes Trouble straps you into the front seat of a runaway train as a fictitious European country lurches uncontrollably towards an anarchic revolution which threaten not only the lives of every citizen, but freedom itself.

Ellis is your ordinary, barely socially aware teenage boy filled with misguided rebellion, currently on home detention after an attempt to strike a small blow against an antiquated and censorial education system rapidly escalated into a destructive school fire.

It’s only his mother’s frustration at having to deal with his moping every day that sees him spending days at his father’s newspaper, The Chronicle, and as the weeks go by he gradually learns about the power of the written word, the importance of the freedom of the press, and the scale of the oppression felt in the country.

Simon Wroe has crafted a bleak country which, although fictional, could be almost anywhere in the world (even Australia): the government and police force are corrupt and out of touch as they feather their nests; the chasm between rich and poor is ever-widening; most people are struggling financially; casual and overt bigotry is on the rise; and unrest hangs heavy in the air.

“People began to speak of purity and tradition and taking things back… Gangs of men hassled immigrants and darker-skinned businessmen… the youth pushed insults a little further, left their middle fingers up a fraction longer behind the teachers’ backs, wound up their elders whenever the situation allowed it. Every person was coming from an argument or on the way to one; everybody had a lecture on the tip of their tongue or ringing in the ear; everyone was keen to make one tiny part stand for the whole… the discontent drew itself along the ancient lines of nation, religion and race.”

Sound familiar? It should – it’s happening all around the world. The age of tolerance seems to be turning dark, and Wroe encapsulates that as his white-hatted 44 Horsemen group escalate from hooligans, to vigilantes, to police-endorsed thugs and, ultimately, murderers.

As matters escalate, tension rises – not only for the fictional characters in this make-believe country, but also for the reader, as Wroe makes this uprising all too real. People, en masse, get caught up in events – an angry mob is likened to zombies, driven only by primal urges, while “the dumb-asses enjoyed all the certainty while those with any thought or consideration were up to their necks in worry and doubt.” As for the authorities, “they had fallen too deeply and too suddenly unto the impossible for there to be any limits.”

As The Chronicle is blamed for inciting some of the violence, so does Ellis’ – and eventually also his father’s – resolve solidify. They can no more sit by and let events overtake them than sign each other’s death warrants, and before realising what has happened, they find themselves on the side of the rebellion, and in very real danger.

Here Comes Trouble is splendidly written, full of very dark humour, and very real danger, and should be seen as a possible future for us all if those in power around the world don’t stop taking rather than providing. History shows it will always be thus: oppression leads to revolution. And there comes real trouble for some.

Category: Book Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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